We use an integrated approach
We work directly with Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining communities and local experts to develop integrated and practical solutions that address the unique circumstances that exist in different locations around the world. We aim to improve the ASGM sector through awareness, training, education, and capacity-building. The diversity of our work and our grass-roots approach allow us to effectively bridge field work with national and international policy. To improve the ASGM sector worldwide and have a positive impact on the millions of people involved in this sector in more than 80 countries, we use our deep field knowledge and focus on the following strategic areas: Improved practices, Governance, Livelihoods, Health, Environment, Gender equality, Market access and development. Our integrated approach seeks to build an environmentally sound, socially responsible, and formalized ASGM sector effective at transferring wealth from rich to poor.
Reducing mercury usage in artisanal and small-scale gold mining is important in order to comply with current environmental regulations/standards. Miners are likely to accept mercury reduction technologies if the technologies increase or at least maintain their income level.
To facilitate the transition to a mercury-free ASGM sector, we:
- Design and implement affordable and intuitive mercury-free processing and training systems;
- Develop practical solutions for reducing mercury use and emissions;
- Identify appropriate solutions that conserve or eliminate the need for mercury and other reagents, saving costs, saving time by more efficient processing, and recovering more gold by improving extraction techniques.
Despite the benefits of the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector, governments frequently tried to eliminate the sector in favour of industrial mining. The problem is the industrial sector employs a different demographic with very few locals, and few people overall. Both sectors play an important role in the development of countries. Industrial mining provides governments with needed tax revenues, whereas artisanal gold mining provides a large number of rural jobs to the poor.
To facilitate the transition of the ASGM sector into the formal economy, we:
- Provide policy advice and recommendations to governments to enable the formalisation and stabilisation of the sector;
- Develop strategic National Action Plans to bring countries into compliance with the Minamata Convention;
- Inform and advise on local, regional, national, and international policy as it pertains to ASGM;
- Provide technological, social, and policy solutions to implement field programs successfully;
- Build training centres for research and development and vocational training, thereby creating local capacity and innovating local technological, financial, social, and governance solutions for the artisanal and small-scale gold sector.
Artisanal and small-scale gold mining is an important development opportunity which can contribute directly to poverty alleviation and regional development. Although social and environmental problems are common in this sector, there is also an opportunity to transform mineral wealth into lasting local development. With the succession of economic crises and overall high price of gold, the sector has attracted more and more people in the last 15 years, especially in rural areas where few alternative livelihoods exist that offer similar levels of compensation.
To improve the livelihoods of people involved in the artisanal and small-scale gold sector, we:
- Create innovative market-based solutions to increase the profitability and sustainability of the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector;
- Assist gold miners and their communities in diversifying their opportunities and saving for future post-mining generations.
Although health issues in artisanal and small-scale gold mining are of serious concerns, they can be mitigated through education, improved processes, and best practices.
To eliminate the health hazards, we:
- Provide seminars to local health professionals on how to identify and treat health issues that are specific to the ASGM sector, such as exposure to dust and mercury intoxication;
- Promote the use of wet milling techniques, which can eliminate silica dust exposure;
- Provide training to miners and processors on the health issues related to ASGM and measures that should be taken to protect their and their family’s health;
- Work with governments around the world to develop national public health strategies to address mercury exposure from ASGM activities;
- Promote the adoption and use of protective equipment at mine sites;
- Develop research guidelines and tools including surveys and questionnaires which can be used to conduct rapid health assessment in mining community, and assess the capacity of local and regional health institutions to deal with health issues related to ASGM.
Mercury use and water consumption are two environmental concerns associated with artisanal and small-scale gold mining. Although the environmental issues in the sector are of serious concern, they can be mitigated through education, improved processes and best practices.
AGC’s methodology to mitigation of environmental effects arising from the ASGM sector focuses on:
- Providing simple and accessible technology to selected mining sites that uses less water and does not require mercury;
- Designing customized environmental management systems that can be used by mining communities to reduce the impact of ASGM activities on the environment and monitor outcomes;
- Working with governments around the world to develop strategies to promote the reduction of emissions and releases to the environment of mercury as part of the Minamata Convention commitments.
Women and men both play vital roles in contributing to an economically sustainable, environmentally sound and socially responsible artisanal and small-scale gold sector globally. Gender inequalities overlap with other social stratification relating to culture, age, geography, income and authority relations. Gender inequities such as the productivity gap, income gap, and access to information and training, are often exasperated. We recognize that both women and men have a role to play in decision-making mechanisms and both gender flourish in a wide range of roles in the ASGM primary and secondary economies.
We recognize the important role of women in the ASGM sector and we raise awareness on gender equality with miners, communities, and governments by:
- Engaging in gender-responsive programming by conducting gender mapping studies;
- Targeting women specifically in the various levels of training, and throughout the development of a responsible artisanal gold mining sector;
- Aiming to raise gender equality with miners, communities and with government officials over the course of our projects.
Gold can represent an excellent method of transferring wealth to rural communities: small-scale producers often get 70% or more of international prices, even in remote areas. This is much higher than other products such as coffee and bananas. Artisanal and small-scale gold mining needs to be brought into the formal economy to maximize benefits and enable improvements. Minimizing the environmental and social consequences in artisanal gold mining requires innovation, broad collaboration, and access to capital.
To increase participation of responsible artisanal and small-scale mining in domestic and international markets, we:
- Promote Responsible Artisanal Gold to global markets, socially responsible investors, and consumers;
- Developed the world’s first socially responsible gold bullion investment vehicle – Responsible Artisanal Gold™ – Fund to help miners derive the greatest benefit from this sector, and in turn help improve the gold sector at large;
- Develop innovative market-based solutions to increase the profitability and sustainability of the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector;
- Work with the banking sector and financial institutions which are becoming increasingly interested in funding responsible artisanal gold;
- Generate business models for miners and work with gold buyers to help them source responsibly mined artisanal gold for the international market.